Tag Archives: Iowa

#SOL17: My Brother


farm

There’s something about a farm and a farmer.  A sense of resiliency.  A sense of pride.  A sense of worth at the end of the day.

The end of the day for my older brother was last Tuesday.  The corn was in the ground.  He laid down to rest.

And our hearts are broken again.

He’s with dad.

He’s with our brother Joe.

He’s with nephew Joe and his wife Ashley.

He’s with our grandparents, aunts and uncles, and cousins.

No doubt, encouraging them to think of his view.  His stories. His love of family.

But our hearts are broken again.

We didn’t have the chance to say goodbye out loud to him.

We didn’t get to talk one last time.

It’s been a tough year.

An aunt,

An uncle,

My godfather (also an uncle)

My nephew

My nephew’s wife

And now my brother.

And our hearts are broken again.

Thank you, my friends, for your love and support.

Thank you, my friends and co-workers for your kind words and offers of assistance.

Thank you again, dear Lynn (and Bruce), for trekking across the state (and do remember that we take TREKS seriously in the town of Riverside).

A salute to farmers everywhere.  The salt of the earth.

The Life of a Farmer

Jim

Our stories are many:

Growing up . . . In a family of six kids

Birth order, #2 in the family, BUT the oldest boy

Sharing a bedroom with 2 sisters on one side of the wall and another brother on the boys side

Chores:  milking cows, raising pigs, feeding chickens, planting potatoes, watering small foot high evergreen trees one bucket at a time  . . .

Remembering . . . About age 8, ONLY getting one half of a hamburger when Grandma Ruth took the kids to MacDonalds

In 1970 working ALL the time on the new house and then being chief worker on tearing down the old house

Being 16 when the Mareks got a color TV . . . and the weekend shows were Lawrence Welk and Ed Sullivan

Chopping up Fran’s knee instead of the cockleburrs in the bean field

Being in the Washington HS Jazz Band when it went to Switzerland

Playing chauffeur and playing Alice Cooper’s “School’s Out for Summer” for his younger brother on the ride to school

Paying his sister $2.00 at least twice a year to wash and wax the outside of his car

Playing ball out by the barn with our double first cousins

Roller skating on the cement in front of the machine shed, hopping the pipe, and completing the skating circle inside

As a prankster:  “Pass the green beans” at dinner to Frank (and it was really asparagus);

Putting baby powder in the vents of Gerard’s car at his wedding.  That car always smelled like baby powder.

Shaking and bouncing up and down on the suspension bridge at the Royal Gorge; and

Complaining about his oldest sister’s “pancakes” – EVERY Saturday night  – and a bit flat!

As an uncle . . .

Making sure the kids always had NOISY toys at Christmas.

Telling 3 year old Neel Chary to eat the chocolate kiss out of the peanut butter blossom and put the rest of the cookie back on the tray at Christmas

Telling the Chary boys to pinch off the frosting on Josh and Amanda’s wedding cake because no one would miss it

Promising to give Evan a horse and then forgetting it until the next time he saw Evan (Fran says “Thanks – for real”)

Being a godparent for Jessica Marie

And our hearts are broken again . . .

 




Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Deb, Kathleen, Lanny, Lisa, Melanie, and Stacey for this weekly forum. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here.                                                                                                      

#SOL16: March Challenge Day 14- #OLW


JOY

So, Slicer Friends, we are excited that this IS going to be a repeat . . . but we are hoping for different outcomes this time! I am filled with JOY (#OLW) and so proud of my Iowa Teams!

It’s NCAA BASKETBALL TIME!

IOWA has 3 TEAMS!

AGAIN!

If this sounds vaguely familiar, here’s how it looked last year during the March Challenge!

Our capital city, Des Moines, Iowa, is the site of first round NCAA Men’s Basketball Regional Games for the first time.  “Some of the biggest teams including Kansas, Kentucky, and UConn are headed to Iowa.”  Alas, no Iowa teams are playing in Iowa. (Only ISU is considered the home team, but neither UNI nor the Hawkeyes are there!)

Three teams from Iowa dancing.  March Madness.  ISU, #4 seed, is headed to Denver.  UNI, #11  seed is headed to Oklahoma City.  And the Hawkeyes, #7 seed are headed to Brooklyn!

Most recently both Iowa and ISU were out early in their conference championships but UNI went the distance.  What will be the NCAA results this year?  How far will each team go?  How far will your bracket go?

 

If you don’t have basketball brackets, what about book brackets?

litlearnact march madness

These brackets are courtesy of Dana and Sonja, AKA @litlearnact,  and you can read about them here.

Or what about these instructional strategy brackets from Dyan last year?

strategy bracket

You can learn more about Instructional Strategies Brackets here.

What work can you organize with brackets?

Where will you consider using brackets?


Process:  I watched the brackets tonight as well as a statistics professor on the news breaking down the odds of winning (1 in 76 billion chance of winning with a perfect bracket).  The idea was still swirling in my head during the Sunday night “hour long” local news.  Fresh new ideas this year: Des Moines to host Regionals and connecting both Book Brackets and Strategies Brackets.  I went to look for book brackets and immediately found Dana and Sonja’s bracket post from January and then the post from last March about Dyan’s strategies.  I decided to add “Joy” (my #OLW) and then I had my title and focus for the article.  Time to draft.  Revise, edit, preview, tag, grab the photos for the 3 Iowa schools, and “Voila”!  (2nd day in a row that I searched for my photos while still drafting in my head.  Depending on photo/visual selection – narrative could vary so why write until selected?) Post drafted during the last half of the news.  Eureka – post early (after 11 pm CDT)!


 

slice of life 2016

Thank you, Anna, Betsy, Beth, Dana, Deb, Kathleen, Stacey, and Tara. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here.  It’s the March Slice of Life Challenge so be ready to read DAILY posts!

#SOL15: March Challenge Day 18 – #OLW


March

March Madness?

Where are my teams playing?

What is the schedule?

I’m in a small midwestern state – Iowa. Our most recent claim to fame is the home of this season’s “Bachelor”. But, if you want impressive,  all three of our State Regents’ schools are going to the NCAA tournament.  ALL THREE!  One plays in Louisville (where I just was) and two head to Seattle.  AND THEN the women from two colleges also play.  That’s five teams for NCAA tournament madness!

Aye, here’s the rub. . . I don’t really like basketball.  I wanted to play basketball in high school but we didn’t have a girls team.  Finally, our relentless work to add girls basketball paid off during our senior year.  However, we were destined to have a JV team only.  No seniors could participate as they “built” a team for the next year.  So no, not basketball. .  .  Not that orange pumpkin-pushing sport. Not my favorite sport.

And yet, I will watch any collegiate sports as I know how hard students and athletes as well as the “student athletes” work!  I will cheer for all five teams.  I also appreciate the venue that sports teams provide for musicians to really OWN the field or court.  But I will also have to

word-focus-300x300

Life is full!  Life does not revolve around sports!  AHHH, life also does not solely revolve around sports.  But what a year to enjoy! Time to focus on some of the great athletic teams in our state!

hawkeyes  uni  isu

Go, Iowa!

Facts about Iowa teams and the NCAA Tourney

What teams will YOU be supporting?

Do you have your bracket ready?

slice of life

Check out the writers, readers and teachers here. Thanks to Stacey, Anna, Beth, Tara, Dana and Betsy at “Two Writing Teachers” for creating a place for us to share our work.  So grateful for this entire community of writers who also read, write and support each other!

SOL14: Digging into History


ImageTuesday is the day to share a “Slice of Life” with Two Writing Teachers. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here. 

 

Where do you live?  Do you consider your hometown to be the BEST in your state?  Or that your state of residence is the best in the country?   I often joke about the fact that I live in Iowa and literally in the “boonies” – out in a rural area, literally surrounded by a state forest on three sides.  My background includes being a “farmer’s daughter” and more specifically a daughter of a “porcine production manager”. (A story for another day about the fact that the pigs who were MONEY had air conditioning long before the family!)

But I must admit that I often have to suffer through bad jokes or questions about being from “Ohio” or “Idaho” as some folks just struggle with knowledge of the Midwest.  Iowa claims:

      • the first in the nation – Iowa Caucus;
      • the birthplaces of John Wayne, Donna Reed, and Johnny Carson;
      • the home of Olympian Shawn Johnson;
      • the birthplace of President Herbert Hoover;
      • Ashton Kutcher who is often seen at sporting events in Iowa;
      • The Bridges of Madison County and
      • The Field of Dreams.

This weekend I was looking for information about the 101st Airborne Division based at Fort Campbell.  I’m not sure that I really even knew what “Airborne” meant in military terms but my research was fascinating and highlights from the Army can be found here.

220px-Saving_Private_Ryan_poster

 

Do you remember “Saving Private Ryan”?  Do you remember where Private Ryan was from?  (clue – my state!) Private Ryan was a fictional character. (But Iowa did also have a basis for a family with multiple members killed in the line of duty  – The Sullivan Brothers from Waterloo, IA serving on the Juneau during World War II.)

 

The screenwriter for this movie, Robert Rodat, saw a memorial to eight soldiers who died in the Civil War and began to write this story  about one week during World War II that began with the assault on Omaha Beach on June 6, 1944, where three brothers in the same family were killed. (70 years ago last month)

 

Lincoln’s “Bixby letter” was used in the movie as a reason to search for and send Private Ryan, 101st Airborne Division, home to Iowa.  That letter is referenced here and is often recognized in the top three of President Lincoln’s epic writings.  (Although there is some debate about the authorship)

The text of the letter  –

“Executive Mansion, Washington, November 21, 1864

Mrs. Bixby, Boston, Massachusetts:

Dear Madam: I have been shown in the files of the War Department a statement of the Adjutant-General of Massachusetts that you are the mother of five sons who have died gloriously on the field of battle. I feel how weak and fruitless must be any words of mine which should attempt to beguile you from the grief of a loss so overwhelming. But I cannot refrain from tendering to you the consolation that may be found in the thanks of the Republic they died to save. I pray that our Heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of your bereavement, and leave you only the cherished memory of the loved and lost, and the solemn pride that must be yours to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of freedom.

Yours very sincerely and respectfully,

Abraham Lincoln” (Fordham University, Modern History Sourcebook and a lithographic facsimile is available here at Wikipedia)

 

 

Draft Found poem:

Mrs. Bixby
your five sons
have died gloriously.
Weak and fruitless
to beguile you
in your grief
so overwhelming;
consolation
in the thanks
of the Republic
they died to save.
I pray
our Heavenly Father
may assuage the anguish and
leave you the
cherished memory of
the loved and lost
and pride for so costly a sacrifice
upon the altar of freedom.
Respectfully, Abraham Lincoln

(Did you click on any of the links?  Interested in learning more?  Go back and check them out!   Did you learn anything new? What questions remain?)

Many historic events have become the subject of movies and Steven Spielberg has produced some epic films.  What is the attraction to a movie?

Is it the characters?

Is it the stories?

Is it that “kernel” of truth that serves as the basis for the plot?

 

Why do you watch “historical movies” or read “historical books”? 

I love “history” when it includes a factual base with well-developed characters and a fascinating story!

 

Iowa Tourist in New York City: Oh, My!


Perfect Saturday weather in New York City with a beautiful blue sky and temperature in the 70s.  Add in gracious tour guide, @azajacks, (AKA Allison Jackson) and it was a wonderful day.  If you haven’t played tourist in NYC lately, this post may be the cause of a craving for a day or two or a week in the Big Apple.

Image

Remember that the first word in the title was “Iowa” and to make sure that you are not confused with Ohio or Idaho, I have given you the map with Iowa as the “red state”.  Last Wednesday I had the privilege of hearing @tguskey (AKA Tom Guskey) in a superb day sponsored by Drake University’s Education Leadership faculty.  (Take advantage of ANY opportunity to see Dr. Guskey!  He is a great storyteller who makes you think!)  Anyway (to keep this as a micro story), my Wednesday started and ended with deer in my driveway.  When I left at 6:00 am there were three does in the driveway – all just standing there looking at me as IF they owned the rock!  And when I returned home at 7:00 pm there were two fawns in the driveway for a grand total of five different deer on our property, highly visible to begin and end my day.  Deer on our property, whether on the roof, in the yard or driveway is “normal” as there is state forest timber on three sides of us.  We live in a VERY rural area!

Fast forward to Saturday, my first full day in NYC with a trip planned to the 9/11 Museum (including a guided tour) scheduled for 10:30 am.  Travel included the subway ride that began at 8:10 this morning and ended with the walk home from the subway about 8 pm.  Not a normal day in Iowa!

Where were we?
    • 9/11 Memorial
    • 9/11 Memorial Museum
    • 9/11 Memorial Museum Guided Tour
    • Wandering and Revisiting Exhibits in the 9/11 Memorial Museum
    • St. Paul’s Chapel
    • Time Square
    • Visiting the Lions at the New York City Public Library (and the gift shop)
    • Rockefeller Square
    • Bank Street Books

Google photos has many pictures available from the 9/11 Memorial or you can actually go to their site at 911memorial.orgImage

 

There is no admission fee on the outside grounds of the memorial.  You can visit the “Survivor Tree” or the “South and North Reflecting Pool Memorials” without tickets.  If you desire to view a specific name on the wall, you will want to visit the electronic search kiosk to locate the panel letter and number for that individual.  I looked for my sister’s friend and only a few seconds of search were required when searching with a first and last name.  

You will have to see the museum to believe it.  There is an admission charge with an additional charge for a guided tour.  Our tour leader was Eduardo, who was very good at putting us at ease so that we felt comfortable asking questions.  He is a master storyteller.  At the end we did ask for advice as we were thinking our time might be limited.  Eduardo shared that the guides had written their own scripts after studying the artifacts that were assembled on “Ground Zero” – studying and writing for months for a polished script!  Wow! His depth of knowledge was unbelievable.

You need to see:

Image

1) The “Slurry Wall” inside Foundation Hall and hear its original purpose and what has been done to reinforce it after 9/11

Image

2) This quote from Virgil on Memorial Hall.  Each “blue” page represents a person murdered at the Trade Center or because of the Al Qaeda plots.  Each blue page is also a different color – ALL 2,977 of them are uniquely different.

3) An artifact added after a stunning victory in the war against the Terrorists. (Hint – related to May 2, 2011 but not shown in a picture)

 

Image

4) Many heart wrenching and tear jerker stories complete with personal artifacts to view.

 

 

Image

 

5) Memorial Hall complete with photos for each person murdered by the terrorists.

And that is just a Very, Very small sampling of the artifacts.

After the guided tour, we went back to carefully reread the posted notes and view the tons of steel and concrete that remain a part of the Twin Towers and the existing “reflecting pools”.  It was a day of wonderment as well as a day of tears.  So many lives cut short.  Many unborn children who perished as well.  The museum truly honors and cherishes the victims.  The design was well executed! The layout maximizes space.  The subdued lighting adds to the somber and reverent tone!

What an amazing day!  Thanks, Allison!

Have you been to visit the 9/11 Museum Memorial?  What touristy plans do you have while participating in #tcrwp Writing Institute?

 

 

Spring? Winter?


slice

Tuesday is the day to share a “Slice of Life” with Two Writing Teachers. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here. 

 

My favorite picture from Facebook yesterday was this:

 

Image

 

Saturday –

80 degrees and sunny –

Washed the car

Ran errands

Went for a walk

Sunny, bright and cheery

Enjoyed the weather.

 

Sunday –

60 degrees and rainy –

Revised class on moodle

Set up grade book

Selected learning activities

Dreary, dark and gloomy

Sent emails

Made lists.

 

Monday –

33 degrees and snow on the ground –

Dog would not go outside

Warmed up the car

Drug out the winter coat

Found gloves

Cold, bone-chilling and windy

Sent “snowy picture” to kids.

 

Tuesday morning –

Full moon and currently 26 degrees –

Predicted high in the 40’s.

 

Iowa

Weather

Wait a day,

Wait an hour,

Wait a minute,

It WILL change!

 

What will tomorrow’s weather bring?

*

Is your spring weather unpredictable?  Warm?  Sunny?  Meeting your expectations?

 

 

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